Join us at the 2022 Making Schools Work Conference

Join us at the 2022 Making Schools Work Conference

Join us in Grapevine, Texas, July 19-22, 2022, for an unforgettable professional development event and share your strategies, struggles and successes during four days of learning, collaborating and networking. Educators can participate in hundreds of sessions on topics like addressing the effects of poverty and trauma and ensuring equitable access to quality instruction, wherever teaching and learning takes place. Take home actionable strategies to advance your K-12 school improvement efforts and raise student achievement.

Learn with the leading experts in your field


Joe and Dardi Hendershott
Co-founders, Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC

Joe Hendershott, co-founder of Hope 4 The Wounded, LLC, has an extensive background working with at-risk and wounded youth as a teacher, coach and administrator in traditional, alternative and correctional education settings.

Hendershott has served as a high school assistant principal, head principal, alternative school principal and principal at a residential facility.

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Christian Moore
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Youth Advocate

Christian Moore is an internationally-renowned speaker, licensed clinical social worker and advocate for youth. He is also the author of The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action.

Moore found his passion in social work and created the WhyTry Program, a social-emotional learning program that delivers tools and training to help educators change students from unmotivated to engaged, from failing to graduates, and from hopeless to resilient. WhyTry has been implemented in over 25,000 organizations.

Phyllis Donatto, Founder and CEO, FTH Dimension Solutions

Phyllis Donatto
Founder and CEO, FTH Dimension Solutions

Phyllis Donatto is the founder and CEO of FTH Dimension Solutions. A first-generation college graduate, she holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s in reading, a master’s in theological studies and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. She is certified in school administration and is also a reading specialist.

Donatto’s K-12 and postsecondary experiences include serving as a leadership development strategist, educational consultant, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, PK-16+ coordinator, campus improvement specialist, administrative intern (assistant principal), Title I compliance coordinator and classroom teacher.

Educators, Phyllis Donatto of FTH Dimension Solutions wants you to know that *you* are the difference-makers in your students' lives. Despite many challenges, you have the power to get things done and have not lost sight of your "why." Meet Phyllis and celebrate your year and your accomplishments at the 2021 Making Schools Work Conference in Nashville, July 6-9 at the Gaylord Opryland.She provides leadership to organizations in the areas of career, executive and life coaching, strategic planning, team growth and organizational climate. Donatto has presented internationally, nationally, statewide and locally on topics ranging from cultivating culture and climate to effective teaching and learning strategies.

Donatto is a certified Paradigm 360 Executive Coach and enjoys a reputation as a “Hopeologist.” She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Nai Wang
Founder/President, KP Education Systems

Nai Wang is founder and president of KP Education Systems.

As a child, Nai struggled in public education, even failing a math class.  Growing up in an immigrant family that ran a restaurant, Nai and his family couldn’t afford medical treatment for his ADHD. That’s when he fell in love with video games, a medium that stimulated his mind at the pace he needed.

Robert Jackson, Robert Jackson Consulting

Robert Jackson
Robert Jackson Consulting

Robert Jackson began his teaching career almost 25 years ago in Indianapolis Public Schools after being cut from the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings with a “no more excuses” teaching approach that set high expectations for his students and challenged them to not let their personal circumstances define their futures.

Jackson’s goal is to teach educators and administrators how to use their power more effectively to educate, activate and motivate all students to be successful. His own students have gone on to become successful pastors, lawyers, school administrators, teachers, sales reps, business owners, pro athletes, entertainers and more.

Robert Jackson VideoAs a highly sought-after speaker, Jackson delivers keynotes and workshops nationwide to educators, administrators, parents and students on such topics as cultural diversity, restorative practices, social and emotional learning, working with students who have experienced trauma and educating Black and Latino males.

Jackson has written and published numerous books and articles, including Black Men Stand Up, A Boy’s Guide to Manhood, A Young Woman’s Guide to Womanhood, Put a Stop to Bullying and Solutions to Educating Black and Latino Males.

His newest book, Becoming the Educator They Need: Strategies, Mindsets, and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students, won the Gold Excel Award for Technical Writing in July 2020.

Jackson has received numerous awards for his work, including the NOBLE Justice by Action Youth Award, the Key to the City of Miami, Florida, and the 2019 National Motivational Educator of the Year Award by the Alpha Foundation.

He is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and the NFL Players Association.

Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Western Kentucky University.


Steph Jensen
Director of Community Contracts, Boys Town

Steph Jensen is the director of community contracts for Boys Town National Community Support Services.

Jensen joined Boys Town in 2003. She has been in the educational field since 1995, holding positions from middle school teacher, district reading specialist and school consultant, speaker and author.

In her 15 years with Boys Town, Jensen has overseen the implementation of external training contracts nationally and internationally. She has worked closely with organizations ranging from the Japanese Child Welfare Department to Chicago Public Schools Office of School Improvement. 

Jensen applies her education knowledge and experience with school reform and transformation to schools across the country, helping them create healthy learning climates that focus on the social and emotional needs of students.


Thomas Glanton
President, The Education Company

Thomas Glanton, Jr., is president and lead consultant for The Education Company, a national educational consulting company specializing in school improvement and the art of school leadership. Under his leadership, the company has served over 200,000 teachers and administrators in public, private, and charter schools across the U.S.

Glanton works directly with school and district leaders to develop their capacity to create school climates that are conducive to student success by focusing on operations, instructional leadership, data analysis and school performance.

An Atlanta native, Glanton has decades of experience in public school education, having served as a high school English teacher, a high school principal and an elementary school assistant principal. His application of a comprehensive discipline management program transformed a Title I school and earned him accolades as a Georgia PTA Principal of the Year.

Glanton also served as the director of leadership development for the DeKalb County School System, one of the most culturally diverse counties in the nation. Glanton speaks widely at national and regional education conferences and is an active member of various civic organizations and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.


Dave Shepard
The Middle Matters and More

Dave Shepard manages his own educational consulting firm, The Middle Matters and More, in Lexington, Kentucky. As a former teacher, coach, curriculum and program designer, and administrator, Shepard has worked with middle grades and high school students for more than 40 years.

Since 1999, Shepard has devoted his time to helping schools become more efficient and effective for all teachers and students. he has presented at dozens of state and national conferences and assisted districts in 47 states and two foreign countries in developing and refining their programs by providing quality professional development and teacher in-services.

He has authored or coauthored numerous articles and a book with Sherrel Bergmann and Judy Brough on improving parental support in schools.

Shepard has been recognized as Coach of The Year and Principal of The Year. He received his highest honor, the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, from the Kentucky Middle School Association.


Marck Abraham
Founder and CEO, MEA Consultants, LLC

Marck Abraham is the founder and CEO of MEA Consultants, LLC, which he designed to help poorly performing schools and organizations increase achievement for all students, especially young men of color.

As a thought leader for men of color, author and motivational speaker, Abraham has presented to various education audiences and school districts in New York and across the country. His most recent article, “Culturally Proficient Leadership: Improving the High School Graduation Rate for Black Males,” appeared in the February issue of Principal Leadership.

In this inspiring video, Dr. Marck Abraham of MEA Consultants, LLC, offers words of encouragement to educators nationwide and urges them to think outside the box and embrace virtual solutions to the challenges of the 2020-21 school year.Abraham’s strategies for increasing graduation rates for males of color has been featured in SREB’s Promising Practices Newsletter, the Buffalo News and on local radio. He was also recently recognized by the mayor of Buffalo, New York, as one of the top principals in the city of Buffalo. McKinley High School, where he was principal, was cited by New York State Education Department for having one of the highest graduation rates for males of color in New York. Abraham is currently offering online webinars for principals and school teams across the country to participate in live discussions of practical strategies for increasing graduation rates for males of color. 

Abraham completed his doctorate at St. John Fisher College.

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